1860 - 1880. Impressionism is a light, spontaneous manner of painting which began in France as a reaction against the restrictions and conventions of the dominant academic art. The hallmark of the style is the attempt to capture the subjective impression of light in a scene. The core of the Impressionist group was made up of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas.

Artists and Articles

Claude Monet

Claude Monet, French painter, is generally considered to be the most outstanding figure among Impressionists. The term Impressionism derives from his picture Impression: Sunrise. Monet was using the short brush strokes, which often looked rather like spots of paint, not lines. For this reason his paintings seemed to some people messy and unfinished. Often, when you looked at his painting from a short distance you couldn't see what it was, but if you stepped away you could see a beautiful scene. This was a completely new way of painting that became the mark of Impressionism. Monet was enormously prolific and many major galleries have examples of his work. Through his life Monet painted about 2500 paintings. For many years Monet's and other Impressionists' paintings were not understood and rejected by people of that time. But finally by the end of century the new way of painting became liked and popular. Impressionism enriched art, and taught people to be open and ready to welcome and enjoy the new styles. Claude Monet, as the leader of Impressionists, made this success possible in the big part. Without Claude Monet art would probably never become so interesting, and full of light, and beauty.

Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas, French painter and sculptor, known especially for his paintings of ballet dancers. Other subjects that he frequently returned to include horse races, women bathing, and portraits of friends and relatives. Degas combined a modern focus on the creation of unusual compositions and the rendering of movement with a traditional emphasis on skillful drawing. Degas is usually classed with the Impressionism, but he stood somewhat apart from the other artists in this group. He did not share the Impressionists' fascination with natural light and its effects, and he disliked painting directly from nature, preferring instead to work in the studio. Moreover, Degas had little interest in landscape - the primary subject matter of the Impressionists - and concentrated instead on the human figure. Also unlike the Impressionists, Degas was interested in drawing and emphasized line in his work.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a French painter originally associated with the Impressionism movement. Renoir's paintings show vibrant light and color, and harmony of lines. Unlike many Impressionists who focused on landscapes, he painted not only landscapes, but people in intimate and candid compositions - sometimes applying paint with a palette knife rather than a brush. Renoir was one of the great worshippers of the female form, and he said "I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it". Recognized by critics as one of the greatest and most independent painters of his period, Renoir is noted for the intimate charm of his wide variety of subjects. Pierre-Auguste Renoir was undoubtedly one of the most prolific artists ever with about 6000 paintings completed during the 60 years he was active as an artist. Two of Renoir's paintings have sold for more than $70 million.



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